Guinea Pigs are wonderful pets – cute and cuddly and they are simply adored by children. Their calm temperament means parents trust even their young children with pet guinea pigs. However, guinea pigs are as gentle as they look, with very delicate bones and have to be handled very carefully. Here is a quick guide to learning the correct way of handling guinea pigs.
- When you start handling a guinea pig, make sure you are supporting the whole body. Hold one hand firmly around the chest and prevent any sudden movement of the front feet by placing a finger in front of one front leg. The other hand will be used to support the rump and the hind legs. This technique is particularly useful with new guinea pigs that tend to be more nervous and jumpy.
- You may also try returning the guinea pigs to their cages with their rump first so that they may not injure themselves in their eagerness to jump out of your hands.
- While returning guinea pigs to their cages, hold them just above the bottom of their cages and hold them till they stop squirming. Keep holding them gently but firmly. The moment they stop squirming, place them on the bottom of the floor but still do not let go. Again, keep holding them firmly till they stop squirming and only then let go.
This will train guinea pigs into realizing they are better off not squirming when they are being returned to their cages. This also helps when there are other people handling them like guests or small children who may not know how to hold guinea pigs firmly enough.
Teaching children how to hold guinea pigs
Small children should never carry guinea pigs. Their sudden movements or tight cuddling of guinea pigs may tend to scare them and the natural reaction of guinea pigs is to jump out the hand of children. This may cause serious bodily harm to the guinea pigs. Therefore, as a rule, never allow children to get the guinea pigs out of the cages. Encourage children to play with them on the floor and even if they do feel like handling them teach them the proper techniques of doing so.
Handling Pregnant Guinea Pigs
This always poses more of a challenge than the ordinary handling of guinea pigs. First, always avoid handling her late in the pregnancy. The best way to carry a guinea pig within the house, if absolutely necessary, would be in a box which would have one side that can open and close. Train the guinea pig to slowly walk from the cage inside the box. Once you are done, leave the box inside the cage and allow the guinea pig to slowly come out of the box into the cage.
Guinea Pigs can usually live long, healthy lives so long as they are taken care of properly. Take the time to learn the proper ways of handling them, treat them gently and you can enjoy your guinea pigs for a long time to come.